All Things Digital takes a look at the shifting landscape of mobile device data packages, where European carriers are leading the way in offering shared data plans allowing customers to sign up for a single data allotment to be used among multiple devices such as an iPhone and an iPad. Led by Austrian offerings from Orange, those shared data plans have begun rolling out to customer bases increasingly carrying multiple devices and seeking cost-efficient ways of obtaining data access for all of them.

Although the plans vary somewhat by country, the basic premise is the same. Users pay an extra couple of dollars a month for each additional device that shares data - similar to the way families and businesses here have long been able to share minutes between multiple phones.

"We believe that's really a way for the future," said Olaf Swantee, senior executive vice president for France Telecom's Orange unit.

The report notes that executives from AT&T and Verizon in the United States have said that they are actively working on shared data plans, with AT&T saying that such offerings are coming "soon" while declining to specify a launch timeframe.

orange shared data
Apple worked closely with wireless carriers ahead of the iPad's debut in order to be able to provide customers with simple and flexible data access for owners of 3G-capable models. While the initial unlimited data package offered by AT&T for the iPad was quickly replaced by tiered plans, users continue to be able to subscribe to and cancel data services as needed without the need for activation fees or long-term commitments. But shared data plans could offer additional flexibility to provide data service for multiple devices and relatively low incremental costs, provided that the additional device fees imposed by the carriers are not excessive.

AT&T has already had to respond to the idea of shared data with its tethering plans that allow users to create their own Wi-Fi hotspots connected to the cellular network via their phones. The carrier had initially offered tethering support for an additional $20 per month on top of the standard data fee, despite not offering any additional data allotment. The surcharge drew numerous complaints from users, and the carrier eventually modified its offerings to include an additional 2 GB of data for customers on its tethering plan.

Top Rated Comments

fungus Avatar
147 months ago
I'm already dreaming of rollover megabytes... :rolleyes:
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tasset Avatar
147 months ago
Oh God, this is even worse.

Now little Cindy is gonna eat up daddy's data before he knows it. It's the shared minute/text messages family fight all over again.

It could potentially be this way, if AT&T/Verizon's idea for shared plans are made to penalize you for pooling. Such as 3gb for $50 a month. Something to disincentivize you from a per-line data plan.

I think though with good restrictions/parental controls in iOS you can set Youtube and hopefully soon other video apps to only work over wifi.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tasset Avatar
147 months ago
Charging for tethering is bull ****. Just another way US corporations are more concerned with paying CEOs and shareholders than offering value to their customers.

Television, internet, telecoms ... all of them are ruled by a few corporations, much of the time in a monopoly bubble, and all of them hold back evolution by trying to take as much money out of the consumer as possible first at the expense of the country's global technological standing.

In ten years time the USA is going to be in the bottom tier for internet and digital infrastructure and consumer reach.
I agree and try to preach this to friends and coworkers, but their eyes just glaze over and say "yeah but capitalism rules and this is just the free market at work." They have totally drunk the Koolaid. Probably will be at a Palin 2012 rally as well.
I still hold out hope that Sprint will realize they will never catch up to AT&T/Verizon and go out in a blaze a glory with an all-you-can eat data all the time plan. Or maybe that LightSquared will be a player.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
baryon Avatar
147 months ago
This is inevitable. No sane person will have a separate contract for 2-3 devices. Pay for a single service, and use it however you like.

The electric company doesn't charge me separately for using the washing machine or the lights either.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
goobot Avatar
147 months ago
I would love if for 10$ a month my ipad can join my iphone in unlimited data. Of course that isnt gana happen tho.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RonD69 Avatar
147 months ago
Hopefully U.S. carriers will follow suit!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

USB C Over Lightning Feature

EU Passes Law to Switch iPhone to USB-C by End of 2024

Tuesday October 4, 2022 3:30 am PDT by
The European Parliament today voted overwhelmingly in favor of enforcing USB-C as a common charging port across a wide range of consumer electronic devices, including the iPhone and AirPods, by the end of 2024. The proposal, known as a directive, forces all consumer electronics manufacturers who sell their products in Europe to ensure that a wide range of devices feature a USB-C port. This...
ipad pro purple

Five Apple Products You Should Avoid Buying Right Now

Wednesday October 5, 2022 2:12 pm PDT by
Rumors suggest that Apple still has several new devices that are coming before the end of the year, including a range of Macs and iPads. It's not looking like we're going to get an October event in 2022, but refreshes are coming soon, probably via press release. If you're planning to buy a Mac or an iPad, make sure to check out our list to know what's safe to pick up now and what's not. iPad ...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

10 New iOS 16 Features Coming Later This Year

Monday October 3, 2022 2:41 pm PDT by
iOS 16 was released to the public three weeks ago with a customizable Lock Screen, the ability to edit iMessages, improvements to Focus modes, and much more. And in the coming months, iPhone and iPad users have even more new features to look forward to. We've rounded up 10 new features coming to the iPhone and iPad later this year, according to Apple. Many of the features are part of iOS...
magsafe charger orange

Apple Releases New MagSafe Charger Firmware

Tuesday October 4, 2022 12:09 pm PDT by
Apple today released updated firmware for the MagSafe Charger that is designed to work with the iPhone 12 and later and the AirPods Pro 2. The new firmware is version 10M1821, up from the prior 10M229 firmware. Note that in the Settings app, you'll see a different version number than the firmware number, with the update displayed as version 255.0.0.0 (the prior firmware was 247.0.0.0). The...
maxresdefault

Video: AirPods Pro 2 vs. Bose QuietComfort II

Monday October 3, 2022 12:50 pm PDT by
Apple on September 23 officially launched the second-generation version of the AirPods Pro, introducing updated Active Noise Cancellation, Adaptive Transparency, improved sound, and more. Right around the same time, Bose introduced new QuietComfort II earbuds with many similar features, so we thought we'd compare the two to see which has the edge. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for ...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

One of iOS 16's Best Features Drains Battery When Enabled

Thursday October 6, 2022 2:15 am PDT by
One of iOS 16's most praised features comes at the cost of draining battery life, according to recently published Apple support documents. The feature, known as "keyboard haptics," is optional in iOS 16 and allows users to get physical feedback via slight vibrations upon the touch of each key, confirming that it was pressed much like keyboard sounds. The feature is a useful addition to the...
aapl logo banner

No October Apple Event Expected Despite Upcoming Wave of New Devices

Wednesday October 5, 2022 2:33 am PDT by
Apple is no longer expected to host an event this month, despite plans to unveil a host of new devices including new iPad and Mac models, according to recent reports. In recent months, Apple has been expected to hold an event in October to announce a range of products that did not receive any stage time during the company's iPhone 14 unveiling event last month. In a recent newsletter, Bloombe...
iOS 16

Apple Preparing iOS 16.0.3 With More Bug Fixes Following iPhone 14 Launch

Monday October 3, 2022 7:53 am PDT by
iOS 16.0.2 was released last month with several bug fixes for iPhone 14 issues, excessive copy and paste permission prompts, and more. Now, evidence suggests that Apple is planning to release iOS 16.0.3 with additional bug fixes. Evidence of an upcoming iOS 16.0.3 software update has shown up in MacRumors analytics logs, which have been a reliable indicator in the past. There are several...
iOS 16

Apple Seeds New Betas of iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Tuesday October 4, 2022 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the fourth beta of iOS 16.1 to developers for testing purposes, with the beta coming one week after the release of the third iOS 16.1 beta. The iOS 16.1 beta is also joined by the fifth beta of iPadOS 16.1, which is on a slightly different schedule as Apple started testing it prior to the launch of iOS 16. Registered developers can download the iOS 16‌ and iPadOS 16...
dynamic island outline 1

iOS 16.1 Beta Adds More Pronounced Gray Border Around Dynamic Island When Using Black Wallpapers or in Dark Mode

Tuesday October 4, 2022 11:58 am PDT by
With the latest iOS 16.1 beta, Apple has tweaked the design of the Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max to make it more visible on a dark background. When using a darker wallpaper or with the darker interface of Dark Mode activated, there is a light gray border around the outside of the Dynamic Island when the screen is dimmed or when the Dynamic Island is in active use. The...